Disjointed Standards

joint commission education healthcare

The word joint brings to mind working together “jointly,” for the greater good—an excellent example of most healthcare organizations. Individuals with various backgrounds and skillsets coming together to care for one individual.

Sadly, many organizations are disjointed.

The new Joint Commissions rulings complicates an already sometimes muddy set of regulations. Like most laws and rules, they were developed to protect us because at one point someone did something dastardly to hurt another person. In the real world, there are people whose life work it is to exploit others for their own benefit. In my little world, everyone is kind.

But back to the real world…

Technology has made our lives easier in many ways. Just last week, I was at an NBA playoff game and realized I hadn’t set a recording at home (you’d be surprised how much you miss). I grabbed my iPhone, opened my TV remote app, and set my DVR to record the game. Good thing because I was on camera billboarding my team—something I was alerted to by 20 friends via text message. Ahhh, technology.

Technology has complicated things in many other ways, but simplified it for criminals who want to prey on anyone. Banking institutions were once the industry that hackers coveted—now it’s healthcare. One medical record is roughly ten times more valuable on the black market than a credit card number. To me that is frightening.

Here come the Joint Commissions updated rulings. Patient safety is their number one goal, as it should be the goal of all healthcare professionals. Reading the amended rulings actually made me feel worse, not better. I am not sure that two ways to verify patient identity is enough in this age of identity theft and drug use/abuse. Frankly, I’d rather show my ID than yell out my name and birthdate at the doctor’s office or pharmacy.

Are people still getting the wrong blood or worse yet, the wrong surgery? I think of my friend who is a surgeon, operating 12 hours a day; after early morning rounds, it’s daunting, but I can’t imagine him making that kind of mistake. Clearly it’s a problem. Don’t get me started on hand washing!

I realize I have it easy. If I make a mistake, it could and has cost my company money; thank goodness it’s not life threatening (well, maybe to me at times). All kidding aside, how do you ensure that all the “T’s” are crossed and “I’s” are dotted? Go back to your roots: education.

Medical professionals are lifelong learners; I’m sure it often feels that way to them. However, the best student is one who hungers to keep learning. It’s like preventative care: you want us to get that annual checkup or screening, and we want you to be proactive in your learning to prevent mistakes. You cannot do it all in a day and cramming is for 18-year-olds.

Technology is knocking on your door. Finding an online solution that gives you access to course content anytime and anywhere is imperative; it allows you to learn at a time and place that works for you. No two learners have the same learning profile—classroom education is costly, can have negative ROI, and takes providers away from their real job. You already play Words with Friends on your devices, read that latest book, and check your email, so why aren’t you learning too?

If you could learn everything about the new Joint Commissions rulings, updated HIPAA rules, or the latest in information security in a way that was fun, entertaining and incorporated real world scenarios, wouldn’t you do it? No, why haven’t you done it? Go back to your past roots to prepare for the future.